Tropical Storm Cristobal forms near southeastern Bahamas

(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Cristobal formed near the southeastern Bahamas today and is moving to the northwest with winds near 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Cristobal could produce rainfall totals of up to 12 inches (30 cm) in portions of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which could result in flash floods and mudslides, especially in the mountains, the center said.

Cristobal, centered about 40 miles (64 km) north of Mayaguana Island and moving at almost nine mph (14 kph), is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, it said.

The storm is forecast to turn in a more northerly direction later today and tomorrow, taking it over the central Bahamas.

Longer-range forecasts show it continuing to strengthen, and possibly becoming a hurricane, while turning to the northeast and skirting the North Carolina coast on Thursday and Friday.

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